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Author Topic: Slave-owners having children with their slaves  (Read 25818 times)

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marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 10:13:35 »
I posted this on one of the pelt threads on the general discussion forum just yesterday evening, and it's already about to slip off of the front page, so I thought I'd post it here also.

In a previous post I referenced comments about how masters having children with their slaves was extremely common.  The comments were from An Imperfect God:  George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America by Henry Wiencek. What I was thinking of turned out to be a whole section rather than a quote.  But here's a quote from this book by Mary Chestnut, the famous southern diarist quoted in so much Civil War literature:

Quote
 
God forgive us, but ours is a monstrous system, a wrong and iniquity.  Like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines; and the mulattoes one sees in every family partly resemble the white children.  Any lady is ready to tell you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody's household but her own.  Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds....A magnate who runs a hideous black harem with its consequences under the same roof with his lovely white wife, and his beautiful and accomplished daughters?  He holds his head as high and poses as a model of all human virtues to these poor women whom God and laws have given him.


This is from a woman who was unabashedly a southerner and a Confederate.

btw, Wiencek concludes that Washington did not participate in this custom, but Martha Washington's half sister lived at Mount Vernon as a house slave, and another slave, West Ford (who has been rumored to have been Washington's son) was likely the son of Washington's brother or, more likely,nephew.

And, as I mentioned on the other thread, Sally Hemmings, who had children with Jefferson, was his late wife's half sister.

When I first heard the suggestion that this was why American blacks were lighter than Africans in the seventies from Alex Haley, I was skeptical.  I didn't think it could possibly be that common.  Now, though, I'm seeing evidence that this was likely the case.[/color]

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 10:13:35 »

Offline Bon Voyage

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« Reply #1 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 10:41:49 »
So that means that the true Jews were having children with the offspring of Edom?

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« Reply #1 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 10:41:49 »

Offline Mere Nick

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« Reply #2 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 11:38:25 »
A slave owner getting nekkid with slaves makes me wonder what they were thinking.  Either they figured their slaves were fully human and their minds were seared such that they would do such a thing (i.e., rape, adultery, fornication), or they thought their slaves were somewhat less than human and to the measure that they were considered less than human is at least some of the measure of their practice of beastiality.

I guess it just means temptation won't walk away just because you have a "Great Man" t-shirt.  King David would probably say "Mmm hmm".

marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #3 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 12:29:37 »
There's more in the chapter than I can, or in some casese care to, type here. Wiencek says that sexual abuse of slave women was considered a "sport" by some, and that northern visitors would often come down to the plantations to partake.

I think that a lot of this is an indication that blacks were dehumanized by white society, both in the north and the south (there's plenty of Civil War era quotes out there showing that most northerners didn't consider blacks equal to whites.)  You see the same thing happening still, and this is why rape is so common in wartime.  See what's been happening in Africa, for instance.

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #3 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 12:29:37 »

Offline Mere Nick

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« Reply #4 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 13:08:11 »
Rape common in wartime?  Yes.  Islam teaches the Muslims to be at war with all of mankind until we are all Muslim, dead, or dhimmis.  Look at the stats of who's doing the raping in Europe and all the other places Muslims are on the rampage.

I've also read reports about men traveling to certain other third world countries because children are freely available for such sport.

This world sometimes looks like it's fallen and not the way it was intended.  Mmm hmm.

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #4 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 13:08:11 »



Offline malachi12

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« Reply #5 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 14:23:35 »
Edom is crazy
Mal 1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob
Mal 1:3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #6 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 17:12:45 »
As a historian and genealogist I can say that Mulatto slave children were extremely common. White slaveowners often fathered childred by their slave women. My own county of Lauderdale had dozens of blacks with one white (sometimes Native American-members of the Five Civilized tribes also often owned slaves) ancestor. James Thomas Rapier (1836-1883), a black congressman from my own Florence, Alabama, was the grandson of a slave woman named Sally Thomas and her white master. Many members of the Rapier and Thomas families are to this day light-skinned. James' father, John H.Rapier, Sr., was freed by his master, Richard Rapier, upon Rapier's death in 1826. His first wife Susan (James T's mother), a free woman of color, died in 1840 and John's second wife was his housekeeper (hired after Susan died to care for his children), a slave woman named Lucretia. Though John, a successful and respected local barber, was free, his second wife Lucretia was tecnically still a slave (he did not treat her as a slave). Under the law, children received the status of their mother, hence Lucretia's children were also considered slaves.

Alabama law (other states also had such laws on the books), said that any slave given his freedom had to leave the state or face imprisonment or re-enslavement-yet few places in Alabama actually enforced this law; Florence didn't. By 1827 Florence had a community of approx. forty free people of color. Both before and after the war, these free blacks were respected and treated fairly, as much as was possible under segregation. Race relations here in Lauderdale were much better than in other places, like Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery. In Lauderdale there seems to have been a genuine feeling of respect and goodwill despite the existence of racism and segregation. It sounds paradoxical but it's true.

When thinking of slavery we tend to see only the negative aspects-and they certainly existed, no doubt about it, so what I'm saying below is in no way designed to downplay, ignore, or make light of that. That being, said, the harsher aspects of slavery varied from region to region, state to state, county to county. Slavery truly was a "peculiar institution," in more ways than one. Nothing demonstrates this fact as readily as does the existence of black slave-owners. Yes, its true many free African-Americans, in an effort to emulate upper-class white society, owned their own plantations with slaves. Sometimes they bought relatives and freed them, but just as often these free people of color as they were called, viewed owning slaves as a status symbol. There were communities of slave-owning blacks in Virginia, Louisiana, and especially in outh Carolina. Hitorian Larry Koger has documented free black slaveowners in South Carolina, in his book Black Slaveowners of South Carolina.

Many slaves who served as house and/or body servants were considered as family, often referred to affectionately and paternalistically as "Aunt" or "Uncle." This was also often the case with slaveowners who only owned a few slaves-they, too were often regarded as family. On the larger plantations working 300 or more slaves, the slaves were often regarded as property. But on smaller farms they were sometimes viewed as family. Many of these slaves remained intensely loyal to their masters before, during, and after the war. Many black Southerners actively supported the Confederate war effort, for varying reasons, among them patriotism and loyalty to their owners. Anywhere from 60,000-300,000 blacks served in the Confederate army; many of these men faithfully attended Confederate Veterans' reunions after the war. My own county had six slaves who proudly fought alongside their masters in the Confederate Army. These guys faithfully attended CV reunions. I wrote an article on these local black Confederate veterans which was published in our local historical journal five years ago.

"Uncle" Reuben Patterson (ca. 1843-1928) served as the body servant of his master, Col. Josiah Patterson (ca. 1836-1904) of the Fifth Alabama Cavalry, CSA. Reuben served as body servant, company bugler, company forager and cook, and "horse swapper." Reuben and his master acted more like brothers than master and slave. Col. Patterson allowed Reuben to carry arms.

Below is an example of a Mulatto person. Its a tin-type of "Uncle" Henry Patton (ca. 1847-1901) of Sweetwater Plantation in Florence, Alabama. Henry was the house servant of AL Governor Robert M. Patton. Henry's white ancestry is readily apparent. His children could pass as white. The picture below comes from our local genealogy website and was shared with us by Henry's great-grandaughter Mrs. Rhuea Patton-France, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~allauder/

Pax.


"Uncle" Henry Patton (ca. 1847-1901), slave and house servant of Sweetwater Plantation, near Florence, AL:




marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #7 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 18:12:09 »
It's always imortant to realize that black slaveowners and black confederates were a very tiny percentage of the whole, and were, by an extreme amount, the exception.

There is nothing even close to a justification for slavery.  Period.

I know you weren't trying to justify slavery, but I think it's very important, given the terrible history of the institution that we don't forget the true nature of the system. I think it is right that when we look at slavery, we see the negative aspects, because even many of the things we call positives were only lighter negatives.  

btw, as to the numbers of blacks in the Confederacy, a couple of questions.  1, wouldn't it have been very late in the war before blacks were allowed to fight in most places, given the Southern attitudes toward black soldiers and the reaction to Cleburne's proposal?  2.  I'm curious as to the source for the numbers, since they seem high in light of the estimate I've seen that there were 900,000 confederate soldiers overall, and no black Confederate soldiers were ever taken prisoner by the North.

I know McPherson and others doubt some of the reports of a large number of black Confederates, though there were obviously some. I think there's overall some objection to classifying those who accompanied the armys as servants--including those who carried arms for their masters, but who did not take part in battles--as soldiers.

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« Reply #8 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 18:33:07 »
When the bullets are flyin' or when the shoes wear out on a march I don't care much for classifying two guys standing three feet apart during a battle as "soldier" and "oh some slave or servant who just happened to be there working for a solder".

marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #9 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 18:33:14 »
btw, I'm not trying to be inflammatory, just trying to figure all of this out since your numbers disagree with much of what I've read.  I think toward the end of my post, though, I figured out that you're probably just using a looser definition, than I am.  I noticed that you said "served" not "fought with."  That's probably where the difference lies.

This would also explain why no Confederate prisoners were taken, because slaves who were accompanying the Confederates were, when captured, called "contraband" and given duties in service of the Union.

Sorry about that.  You were saying one thing and I was thinking another.

marc

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« Reply #10 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 18:36:12 »
Quote
When the bullets are flyin' or when the shoes wear out on a march I don't care much for classifying two guys standing three feet apart during a battle as "soldier" and "oh some slave or servant who just happened to be there working for a solder".
There's quite a difference, though, if the person standing there's sympathies lie with the people doing the shooting.  I'm not sure who it was (Meade or Grant, maybe) that laughed when he heard the proposal of the Confederates giving their slaves guns to fight, and suggested they go ahead and do it and see just who they shoot with them.

Of course the truth is that if they were carrying them for their masters surrounded by an army, many might have wanted to use the guns in another way, but to do so would have been suicide.

Offline James A. Wyly

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« Reply #11 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 19:00:24 »
Hello Lee,

Nice, interesting history.

Jim Wyly

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« Reply #12 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 21:27:39 »
Quote
I know McPherson and others doubt some of the reports of a large number of black Confederates, though there were obviously some.
Pardon my ignorance, but who is this McPherson?

marc

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« Reply #13 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 21:30:24 »
Sorry. James McPherson, Pulitzer winning Civil War historian.  His Battle Cry of Freedom is as good a single-volume history of the Civil War as is out there (I like Shelby Foote's 3-volume work a little better overall, but they're both very good.)

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« Reply #14 on: Sat Jan 28, 2006 - 21:58:58 »
Ah, thank you.  McPherson is my mom's side of the family, so it caught my eye.

I found an interesting little tidbit in my family history.  In Louisianna in the late 1870's early 1880's my great great grandmother had an ongoing affair with a black man who worked on their farm.  She had at least two children by him.  The news got around to the local Klan members who showed up at her door one evening.  They put a rope around her neck and threatened to hang her from a cotton gin if she didn't name the father.  She swore up and down that she didn't know what they were talking about, that her baby was a little dark because she had been scared by a black bull when she was pregnant!  Apparently she convinced them.

The interesting part (to me) is the attitude of her husband.  Though it was obvious that they weren't his children, he raised them lovingly, referring to them as "my little Dutch children," and provided for them in his will as if they were his own.

The whole thing was quite the family scandal.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #15 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 01:45:43 »
Quote
It's always imortant to realize that black slaveowners and black confederates were a very tiny percentage of the whole, and were, by an extreme amount, the exception.

There is nothing even close to a justification for slavery.  Period.

I know you weren't trying to justify slavery, but I think it's very important, given the terrible history of the institution that we don't forget the true nature of the system. I think it is right that when we look at slavery, we see the negative aspects, because even many of the things we call positives were only lighter negatives.  

btw, as to the numbers of blacks in the Confederacy, a couple of questions.  1, wouldn't it have been very late in the war before blacks were allowed to fight in most places, given the Southern attitudes toward black soldiers and the reaction to Cleburne's proposal?  2.  I'm curious as to the source for the numbers, since they seem high in light of the estimate I've seen that there were 900,000 confederate soldiers overall, and no black Confederate soldiers were ever taken prisoner by the North.

I know McPherson and others doubt some of the reports of a large number of black Confederates, though there were obviously some. I think there's overall some objection to classifying those who accompanied the armys as servants--including those who carried arms for their masters, but who did not take part in battles--as soldiers.

marc, you're right, slavery cannot be defended. Nevertheless the negative effects of its harshness varied from region to region.  Historians can't sweep under the rug historical instances from black history which make them uncomfortable or don't fit the accepted view. Again-that's not to defend slavery, but to view it non-passionately as it really was.  Like I said, slavery really was a "peculiar institution." As African-American scholar and author on blacks in Civil War Virginia Dr. Irvin Jordan says, "My job is neither to praise nor condemn them [black Confederates] but to explain them." We're not doing anybody, black or white, a favor, by ignoring aspects of history that makes uncomfortable or aren't politically correct. Indeed, part of the problem with this topic in particular is that partisans on both sides trying to push an agenda, manipulating, exaggerating, or ignoring the relevant data, have turned it into a political issue, rather than a historical issu. But I understand that its a sensitive subject to many people. When I gave my black Confederates lecture last year to a mixed audience of black and white people I wasn't sure what to expect; I told them the lecture wasn't a pro-slavery or pro-Confederate program, but a program studying a fascinating historical  subject. I was pleasantly surprised, however, at how many African-American folks who were there told me the program was interesting and informative. No one got offended at all. And I heaved a great sigh of relief, I can tell you! I knew my regular genealogy patrons who're black didn't have a problem with the subject, but there people there I didn't know. Luckily it went well.

Believe me, at first I was every bit as skeptical as you are that there even were any black Confederates, because I'd been assured that such was impossible, a contradiction in terms.

As for the numbers of black Confederates, they're best guesses, however I think 60,000  may be closer to the actual mark. None of the historians I've read seem to agree as to the number. This subject has only begun to be taken seriously by historians over the past ten or so years. Much more research needs to be done. The majority of blacks in the Confederate Army weren't officially enlisted, hence estimates of numbers are hard to arrive at; many served as body servants, many in labor battalions, many as cooks, teamsters, musicians, hospital orderlies, etc. But though not oficially enlisted, many of these men were armed and saw as much combat as whites did.

But though the Confederate Congress stalled on the official creation of all-black CSA regiments until 1865, individual Confederate commanders had been utilizing black troops from 1861: Tennessee was the first Confederate state to authorize free black enlistment in 1861. Union officers reported being ambushed by a black CSA regiment in late 1861. So not all Southerners were averse to the idea of black Confederate troops.

And there were some black bodyservants who went to prison with their masters, rather than accept their freedom-Capt. J. R. Wilson moved to Florence, AL from Mississippi after the war. According to Capt. A. O. P. Nicholson, writing in the Confederate Veteran of March, 1905, Capt. Wilson was captured and sent to Johnson's Island and his black body servant John was captured with him. John "went through the hardships of prison rather than accept his freedom and remunerative service from the Federals."

Here's a quotation from Union Capt. Isaac Heyslinger, upon observing the Army of Northern Virgina as it moved through Frederick, Maryland in 1862:


At four o'clock this morning the rebel army began to move from our town, Jackson's force taking the advance. The most liberal calculation could not have given them more than 64,000 men. Over 3,000 Negroes must be included in that number. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only cast off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. They were shabby, but not shabbier than those worn by white men in the rebel raks. Most of the Negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabers, bowie knives, dirks, etc . . . They were . . . manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army. They were seen riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissaons, in ambulances, with the staff of generals, and promiscuously mixed up with all the rebel horde.[/b]

Commenting on this statement in his The South Vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War, Dr. William Freehling writes:

That word promiscuously, just what a Yankee would use, lends credibility to this report of black Confederate soldiers. Later in the war, after Yankees invited black troops to gun down rebels, northern whites segregated the allegedly inferior race in its own companies. Northerners, as the saying went, furthered the black race but shunned black individuals, while Southerners enslaved the race and embraced the individual. When black and white confederates soldiered side by side, Yankee segregationists saw only the "promiscuous." (p. 92)

Freehling records two Mobile slaves who boght $400 in Confederate bonds, and a New Orleans slave who who subscribed for $200. A weeping elderly black hackman offered his entire life savings of $1,000. (p. 90) A handicapped free black man named Ab, in my home town, tried to enlist in Capt. Houston's Confederate company, and when told he could not go, donated his life savings to a soldier of that company. Slaves from Huntsville, AL made socks for their Confederate soldiers.

These blacks actively supported the Confederate war effort for a number of reasons. I think many of them were forced to. Others did so out of the hope that after the war their patritoic service for the South would be remembered and rewarded with freedom-or at the very least a relaxation of some of the restrictions. of slavery. Many, like Reuben Patterson, were fiercely loyal to their masters, and (if his 1906 Trotwood's Monthly interview is anything to go by),  wanted to have a grand adventure. Still others felt they were defending their homes from Northern agression. Some blacks, like the men of the Louisiana Native Guards of New Orleans, were successful businessmen, planters and slaveowners themselves, hence had a vested interest in a Southern victory. And then a few blacks, motivated purely from self-interest, supported whichever side was in power at the moment. Some Confederate blacks switched sides or ran away at the first opportunity. The Native Guards began as a Confederate militia regiment but ended as a Union militia regiment. The motives of Southern blacks were every bit as varied as those of whites.  That some of them reacted as whites did really doesn't surpise me; at the very least it was a case for many of them of "the enemy you know rather than the enemy you don't know." But that there was some genuine Southern patriotism exhibited by many of these people is too well documented to deny. It sounds bizarre, but history is not often all black and white, no pun intended. Fact is often stranger than fiction. Obviously this black support did little of practical value, I mean the South still lost, after all. But it was there nonetheless.

Some states, such as Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, actually awared Confederate pensions to their eligible black veterans.

ere's a website for "Tennesse Colored Pension Applications for CSA Service":

http://www.angelfire.com/wi/Carver/csaaa.html

Should you be interested there are four or five really good, balanced books on black Confederates I can recommend. You can read them and make up your own mind.

Pax.[/color]

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #16 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 02:40:28 »
Here's a photo gallery of a few black Confederates from my collection. I couldn't figure out how to get these sized and loaded at a smaller size and finally gave up trying.

Pax.













From L: J. B. Buchanon, W. B. Drake and Louis Napolean Nelson at Confederate veterans' reunion.









Arkansas black Confederates from the Confederate Veteran of 1900







Dr. John D. White and his body servant John Terrill





"Uncle" Reuben Patterson (ca. 1843-1928), on his way to a Birmingham, AL Confederate veterans' reunion, and his former master, Col. Josiah Patterson's granddaughter, Mary Gardner Patterson, ca. 1925


Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #17 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 14:24:36 »
Egbert Jones Camp, United Confederate Veterans, Hunstville AL, ca. late 1920s, early 1930s, from the Confederate Veteran.


marc

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« Reply #18 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 16:02:18 »
You know, I didn't think the other pictures were too big, but that one might be just a bit small. :D

If you want to shrink pictures some so they'll fit on the page, btw, a Photobucket account is a great thing for that.  You can just upload the pic and select 75% or 50% or something.  It's the easiest thing I've found to work with.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #19 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 16:06:01 »
Quote
You know, I didn't think the other pictures were too big, but that one might be just a bit small. :D

If you want to shrink pictures some so they'll fit on the page, btw, a Photobucket account is a great thing for that.  You can just upload the pic and select 75% or 50% or something.  It's the easiest thing I've found to work with.
I tried that and it still couldn't get them to come out right-they either came out too large or too small. Oh well.

Pax.

marc

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« Reply #20 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 16:11:58 »
They weren't that big anyway.  I've seen much worse on the new pic thread. :)

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #21 on: Sun Jan 29, 2006 - 19:43:03 »
I forgot to mention that Lauderdale County had about 21 black men who served in the 111th Infantry, United States Colored Troops-and about ten more who served in unknown regiments. I'm still researching these guys. I have a fairly good bit of research on one, who was most likely a runaway slave, named Miles Ingram; he died in 1890 and his widow Rosanna (who was literally dirt poor) drew a widow's pension the file of which is about 130 pp. long and gave me some great information on Miles. So we're trying to be non-partisan.

Its intersting to me that our six black Confederate vets faithfully attended UCV reunions and were praised for their loyalty and fidelity by their former white masters and comrades, yet none of them is recorded as having drawn a Conferate veteran's pension (but that may be because none of them met the eligibility requirements, or if they did, never applied); yet our 30 plus black Union vets never attended the local GAR post reunions, but some of them did draw pensions. These black Union vets apparently got no public recognition by the papers or white Union veterans for their faithful service, while the black CSA vets did. Neither group of black vets got the recognition they deserved IMHO.

Pax.

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« Reply #22 on: Fri Feb 10, 2006 - 16:47:45 »
This brings up a question I had bothering me since listening to a radio program a couple of weeks ago telling about a Southern white man who inherited an old family Bible, in which all the slave trading transactions his family had done many generations ago, even to include the return of slaves who had tried to escape.  Being a sensitive sort of fellow, he tried to personally apologize to as many blacks in his community with his same last name, with the assumption that they were probably "kin."

Now when I moved down here in the South, I was told that if many black families in an community had the same "white" last name, it only indicated that slaves must have taken their owner's name with them after they were freed.

So which is it...does does a common last name indicate that some white man had a large "harem" or just a large plantation?

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« Reply #23 on: Fri Feb 10, 2006 - 17:19:32 »
It can mean either.    Both happened.   After emancipation,  the freedmen were required to have surnames,  and it wasn't unusual for some white official somewhere just to give them one.

Similar things have happened to immigrants -  if the name they offered was too hard to pronounce or to spell,  the immigration person just gave the immigrant a new name that was easy to spell.     There is a semi-prominent person of Hispanic descent in the next county who has a last name pronounced just like my last name (which is decidedly un-Hispanic.)   That happened because when his grandfather immigrated, the immigration authorities didn't know how to pronounce or spell the last name he gave them.

Offline Lee Freeman

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« Reply #24 on: Fri Feb 10, 2006 - 22:59:59 »
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This brings up a question I had bothering me since listening to a radio program a couple of weeks ago telling about a Southern white man who inherited an old family Bible, in which all the slave trading transactions his family had done many generations ago, even to include the return of slaves who had tried to escape.  Being a sensitive sort of fellow, he tried to personally apologize to as many blacks in his community with his same last name, with the assumption that they were probably "kin."

Now when I moved down here in the South, I was told that if many black families in an community had the same "white" last name, it only indicated that slaves must have taken their owner's name with them after they were freed.

So which is it...does does a common last name indicate that some white man had a large "harem" or just a large plantation?
It could mean either or both. The usual custom was for former slaves to take the surnames of their owners; thus Reuben Patterson (1843-1928) had the surname of his owner Malcolm Patterson; "Uncle" Ferd Jackson (d. 1908) had the name of his Jackson masters; "Uncle" Henry Patton (1843-1901) took the Patton surname; etc.  W C Handy's father, Rev. Charles Bernard Handy was the son of slave Rev William Wise Handy (c. 1818-1873), a runaway from Maryland who was caught and sold to planter Charles Bernard McKiernan of Franklin County, AL. Handy's father Charles Bernard was named after the plantation owner.

Even though miscegenation was a crime, the laws were not enforced, at least with regard to wealthy planters; many slaveowners fathered children by their slaves who took their name. Sometimes these slaves were manumitted, sometimes not. Lauderdale County had a lot of African-American slaves who could pass as white. One statistic has it that one out of every three or four African-Americans in the US today has white ancestors somewhere along the line.

If a black family is/was living near a white family with the same surname its a very good bet that they were slaves of the whites at one time-especially in a small town or sparsely settled county. Certain surnames in my county if a black family has that name you know automatically that they're descended from slaves of whites with that name, such as Summerhills; Carrols; Kogers; Armisteads; Coffees; Ingrams; McKiernans; etc.. Many blacks headed north after emancipation chasing work; many others stayed on their former plantations as sharecroppers. A large percentage of former slaves from Lauderdale stayed here. From what I can tell from my research most of the slaves in our county were treated humanely, both before and after emancipation, and most of them had cordial relations with their former owners. Even under Jim Crow and segregation we never had really bad violence and racial unrest like other places (like Colbert, formerly part of Franklin, just south of us) had; (between 1850-1950 there were only three lynchings in Lauderdale County and two of those were white-on-white).

But often slaves were sold from plantation to plantation, as in William W Handy's case-he was a Handy sold to a McKiernan and he kept (or was allowed to keep) his Handy surname.

Names were often spelled phonetically by census takers and county clerks, who were usually educated, but sometimes only just (and spelling wasn't standardized like it is now)-I've seen the same surname spelled three different ways on the same document before. Often African-American pronunciation of their Anglo surname was garbled, such as Dr. Dorthy Cal Hardy's Cal ancestors. Their name originally was Carrol after their owners, however they pronounced it as "Cal" which some clerk or census taker heard, and it stuck.

Okay, enough of the genealogy lesson.

Sorry, I tend to go on like that. But it IS Black History Month.

Pax.[/color]

marc

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #25 on: Fri Feb 10, 2006 - 23:53:57 »
Back when I went to WV State, which is a historically black school that was integrated after the Civil Rights act (the only one I know that was reverse-integrated, though there may have been more), I had a "Black Writers in America" class.  There were three or four black students and a black teacher, and the rest of us were white.

One day we were discussing Alex Haley, and one of the black students jokingly asked a white (and I mean white--light blond hair, pale complexion) student whose last name was Haley if he was related to him.

"No," he said, "but I think my family owned his."

There was a audible gasp from the room, then silence.

"I know it sounds bad, but I'm being serious," he continued.  "I'm sorry, but I think it's true."

Everyone was very uncomfortable for a minute or two, but it seems to me that things need to be discussed openly.

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #26 on: Sat Feb 11, 2006 - 21:56:05 »
Lee, I have a genealogy question for you.  I found one of my ancestors in the 1850 census in MS.  His occupation is given as planter and his real estate is valued at $1600.  In 1860 his occupation is farmer, real estate is valued at $12,800 and personal estate at $11,000.

First, I'm guessing that he came into an inheritance between 1850 & 1860.  Second, I assume that such a high value for personal property means he owned slaves.  Are those fair assumptions?

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Slave-owners having children with their slaves
« Reply #27 on: Sun Feb 12, 2006 - 03:41:00 »
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Lee, I have a genealogy question for you.  I found one of my ancestors in the 1850 census in MS.  His occupation is given as planter and his real estate is valued at $1600.  In 1860 his occupation is farmer, real estate is valued at $12,800 and personal estate at $11,000.

First, I'm guessing that he came into an inheritance between 1850 & 1860.  Second, I assume that such a high value for personal property means he owned slaves.  Are those fair assumptions?
Never, I'd be surprised if he didn't own slaves. If he did, as I suspect is likely, you should find a man enumerated close to him in the population census whose occupation was listed as "overseer." But there's an easy way you can tell for sure; in 1850 and 1860 slave censuses were taken (along with agricultural, social, and mortality schedules) with the population census of whites. These censuses only recorded the sexes and ages of the slaves (on the other hand, the mortality schedules often recorded names of deceased slaves), however the planters' names were listed. If your ancestor did own slaves you oughta find him and his slaves recorded in the slave censuses. If you have a good genealogical dept. at your local library, a county archives, or an LDS Family History Center they may have the microfilm of these censuses for Mississippi. Otherwise you can order them from the National Archives or the Mississippi State Archives.

Another way you could find out is to check the deed books in his county-often a person deeded slaves to his relatives or others. If he died before emancipation, you might also check the will books and estate inventory books of his county, as slaves were often willed to heirs and were routinely listed in estate inventories, being as they were considered property. Another possibility is if he ever emancipated any of his slaves; emancipation books recorded these. Also, local newspapers routinely recorded slave sales and runaway notices, so if he sold any of his slaves or had any to run away, you might find it recorded in the newspapers (assuming they have them that far back in his county). Which county was it? We have Mississippi records down here for those counties close to us. Maybe we have something you could use? Some families recorded the births and deaths of their slaves in their family Bible. Don't suppose there is one for that family? Most planters also kept account books recording the buying and selling of slaves; if you're really lucky, maybe you'll find one for him.

I have three ancestors that owned slaves; my fourth great-grandfather, Joseph Ijams owned one slave, another fourth great-grandfather, Thomas Gorman, owned several, and a third fourth great-grandfather, Rufus Nance owned several. We actually have the original recipts for about six of Thomas Gorman's slaves. And I've actually met descendents of some of Rufus Nance's slaves.

Pax.[/color]

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« Reply #28 on: Mon Feb 13, 2006 - 00:06:59 »
In 1850 they were in Claiborne county and in 1860 in Bolivar County.  I haven't found them in 1870 yet, but in 1880 they were in Delhi, Richland Ph. LA and the 14 and 17 year-old children are listed as b. in LA.  Husband and wife were still living in Delhi in 1900, so checking wills wouldn't work for him.

I hadn't thought about checking slave schedules.  I use Heritage Quest through my library to check the censuses and I don't know if they have those.  I'll have to see.

I haven't done much work on this line as I don't know of any relatives with this last name, no pictures, Bibles, documents or anything to pique my interest.  It is my mother's father's mother's mother's parents (my 3rd great grandparents) and tracing her side has proved rather difficult.  Apparently in the distance past several were fairly well off, but my guess is that the civil war era was unkind to the family fortunes.  There were also several instances of a parent dying young and little or no formal schooling for a couple of generations (grampa never finished 3rd grade).  For many years having "black blood" in the family was quite scandalous, so no one would talk about ancestors.  It's fun looking for these people, though!

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« Reply #29 on: Mon Feb 13, 2006 - 14:37:53 »
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In 1850 they were in Claiborne county and in 1860 in Bolivar County.  I haven't found them in 1870 yet, but in 1880 they were in Delhi, Richland Ph. LA and the 14 and 17 year-old children are listed as b. in LA.  Husband and wife were still living in Delhi in 1900, so checking wills wouldn't work for him.

I hadn't thought about checking slave schedules.  I use Heritage Quest through my library to check the censuses and I don't know if they have those.  I'll have to see.

I haven't done much work on this line as I don't know of any relatives with this last name, no pictures, Bibles, documents or anything to pique my interest.  It is my mother's father's mother's mother's parents (my 3rd great grandparents) and tracing her side has proved rather difficult.  Apparently in the distance past several were fairly well off, but my guess is that the civil war era was unkind to the family fortunes.  There were also several instances of a parent dying young and little or no formal schooling for a couple of generations (grampa never finished 3rd grade).  For many years having "black blood" in the family was quite scandalous, so no one would talk about ancestors.  It's fun looking for these people, though!
I think Ancestry has the slave schedules but Heritage doesn't yet.

Pax.

 

     
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